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Project #16:
How has COVID-19 impacted primary care treatment pathways for common colds, antibiotic prescribing and antibiotic exposure?

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in major changes in how and whether patients can consult their General Practitioner. This has an impact on how their common infections (such as sore throat or bladder) are being diagnosed and treated. The number of telephone or web appointments has increased and there are concerns, in addition to patients not consulting their GP, that more antibiotics may be given inappropriately as it is difficult to diagnose remotely.

Prior to Covid-19, improvements in antibiotic prescribing in primary care (also known as antibiotic stewardship) were a major priority for the NHS. This was related to increased rates of infections in which antibiotics no longer work (known as antibiotic resistance), often related to overuse of antibiotics.

This project will provide up-to-date information to antibiotic stewardship activities in primary care.

Specific aims are to evaluate

  • the impact of Covid-19 on the primary care treatment pathways for common infections
  • the effects on antibiotic prescribing
  • the effects of prior antibiotic exposure (types and extent) on severity of outcomes in Covid-19 infections (including during and after hospital admission)